SLAC’s ‘Harbur Gate’ : Heroes Fighting for Hope (Review)

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Cara MacDonald

“They should know that their story is important and that theirs lives matter and that we are listening,” said Tamilla Woodard, director of “Harbur Gate,” in a press release.

Salt Lake Acting Company has taken a pledge to be the light. They are part of the Ghostlight project, a national campaign that pledges to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation and compassion for everyone. “Harbur Gate” fits perfectly with this pledge.

The show discusses the cost of war, but more importantly the value of soldiers, as it tells a story of three marines and one catastrophic event told from their perspective. All three are atypical as far as marine stereotypes go; one is a lesbian, one is a female “ball-buster” who doesn’t let anyone get away with anything and the last is a victim. There is also a cross-dresser who is awarded the purple heart, a father and a painter. All of them are Veterans and all of them must deal with the struggles that come with that. Even so, CeCe Otto, who plays a background marine for the show said “the message of Harbur Gate is hope.”

Originally workshopped at SLAC two years ago, “Harbur Gate” is now premiering in its first staged production. It is a simple show, with no intermission and only three scenes. The set is sandy, beautiful and mundane in appearance. The costumes are, naturally, uniforms and the lighting in reminiscent of a painting; “Veteran in a New Field”-reminiscent to be precise.

This show is unique because of the research and interviews conducted in the rehearsal process. The cast visited the Veteran’s hospital and talked to support groups for LGBTQ veterans and those who experienced MST, Military Sexual Trauma. They learned how to handle guns from Marines. One actor is a Vet herself. This show put in the work to understand these people and it is evident in the production. Lane Richins, who plays John Sullivan said, “never underestimate our capacity for empathy and compassion. That will carry us through the injustice.”

This show is humorous and beautiful with some heavy notes that remind audiences how precious life is.  “Harbur Gate” closes March 12. Tickets and more info available here.

m.slack@dailyutahchronicle.com

 

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